NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz, the former controller at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, on Monday pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying books and records and making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cotellessa-Pitz has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in its ongoing investigation of the fraud that occurred at BLMIS, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said.
Beginning in the late 1990s until the collapse of BLMIS in 2008, Cotellessa-Pitz, allegedly along with other co-conspirators, created false and misleading entries in the books and records of BLMIS and in reports filed with the SEC.
These entries were used to disguise transfers of funds from the BLMIS Investment Advisory business to BLMIS's Market Making and Proprietary Trading operations. The transfers made the Market Making and Proprietary Trading operations of BLMIS appear profitable when they were not.
She also, allegedly along with other co-conspirators, created false and fraudulent documents that were given to the SEC in connection with its audit of BLMIS. She also created false and fraudulent documents in connection with tax audits of Madoff.
Cotellessa-Pitz, 53, could receive a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. She is also subject to mandatory restitution and criminal forfeiture and faces criminal fines up to twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense.
The announcement also said she has agreed to a forfeiture of more than $97 billion. The net proceeds from the sale of the forfeited property will be used to compensate victims of the fraud, consistent with applicable Department of Justice regulations.
The judge released her, following her plea, on a $2.5 million bond on the condition that the bond be co-signed by eight financially responsible individuals and secured by $800,000 in cash and property.
Her travel is restricted to the Southern and Eastern districts of New York and she has surrendered her passport.
A sentencing date has been set for June.